RUTANA / BUJUMBURA December 21st (ABP) – The Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Prosper Bazombanza, accompanied by the Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Déo Guide Rurema, participated, on Saturday December 18, 2021, in Gihofi village, Bukemba commune of Rutana province (South-Est), in the ceremonies marking the celebration, for the 42nd time, of the National Tree Day.
Those ceremonies were also attended by several senior officials of the Ministry in charge of the Environment, the MPs elected in the constituency of Rutana, the provincial officials and the people composed mainly of workers of the Mosso Sugar Company (SOSUMO).
During those ceremonies, 7,000 seedlings of two varieties of bamboo were grown, over a length of 14 km from the left bank of the Maragarazi river, which forms the border between Burundi and Tanzania, and whose waters invaded during the rains, the sugar cane plantations belonging to the SOSUMO.
In his speech, the Vice President of the Republic returned to the importance of trees, indicating that when a country has no forests, desertification follows, because trees attract rain and cause people breathe unpolluted air.
He added that with wood, we do a lot of things like cooking, building houses, making the furniture we need. He also pointed out that the trees constitute a reserve of medicinal plants, contribute to environmental protection and to the increase in the production as well as the fight against climate change.
Mr. Bazombanza specified that the national tree day was instituted in 1979, because it was noticed that, when the trees were cut down, they were not replaced at the same rate and the country risked desertification.
The day dedicated to the tree was reinforced by the program called “Ewe Burundi Urambaye”, a project which calls on the entire population to grow trees not only in State domains but also each on their own property by associating fruit trees to agroforestry, he stressed.
Mr. Bazombanza pointed out that although we continue to grow trees, we have not yet reached the desired rate, arguing that we cut more than we grow.
He criticized the bad practices of cutting trees not yet ready to be exploited and the clear cutting of trees in reforestation, hence he recommended, always to call on the supervisors, to ask for authorization before thinking of exploiting any afforestation.
Regarding the growing of trees, the Vice President of the Republic of Burundi calls for respect for the measures taken not to dry up water sources, in particular to avoid growing eucalyptus trees near water sources and not to plow the banks of watercourses to distances provided for by the environmental code. He finally recalled the law on the permanent stabling of cattle and recommended its respect.
In Bujumbura province (western Burundi), the ceremonies took place in Mutambu commune where around 5,000 eucalyptus grandis trees were grown to protect the watersheds of the Kiyenzi hill, a check by ABP revealed.
In his welcome address, the administrator of that commune, Mr. Jean Pierre Niyongabo, indicated that quite a few woodlots have been affected by the crisis that Burundi has gone through, adding that the time has come to replace trees that have been cut in order to preserve the environment.
He added that everyone is well aware that forests constitute an important resource in human life, whether for their use as fuel or in the fight against global warming. He ended his remarks by thanking the local NGO Floresta, which supported in the production of those trees.
The governor of Bujumbura province, Mr. Désiré Nsengiyumva, recalled that this province is affected every year by weather variations and natural disasters, recurrent floods, landslides, collapse, specifying that the people from Gatumba and Kabezi know more than the others, he said before calling on the latter to protect watersheds.
Mr. Nsengiyumva also stressed that this province still has land where a lot of trees can be grown. Thus, he recommended drawing the contour lines, growing a lot of forested, agroforestry and fruit trees, before recalling that he they must also be protected.
He ended his speech by pointing out that the administration, in collaboration with the people, must protect not only those grown trees but also the existing woodlots and avoid anarchic logging.